By Birgit Stutz
Hard work is paying off for a McBride, B.C. female hockey player.
16-year-old Kelly Shawara tried out for the BC Hockey’s Female Under 18 team on March 30 and April 1 in Prince George and was selected to attend the 2012 BC Cup.
BC Hockey’s Female Under 18 level is the third and final stage of the High Performance Program. It is an opportunity for the top players in the province to train and compete at an elite level and is meant to introduce players to the beginning of the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence. According to the BC Hockey website, “the U18 program is designed to emulate national and international competitions.
Starting at Zone Camps, players will be required to complete challenging fi tness tests and on-ice sessions. Those selected from their zones will be invited to the 2012 BC Cup where the top one hundred players will vie for an invitation to Provincial Camp and ultimately a spot on Team BC to compete at the National U18 Women’s Championships. U18 athletes are evaluated on their play at the National Competition and successful players will be invited to the Hockey Canada U18 Identification Camp. The High Performance Program prepares players for the National program where they will undergo the same fitness testing and attend similar types of camps.”
During the BC Cup, which took place from April 25 to 29, Shawara was made assistant captain and was also invited to the Provincial Camp, which took place in Salmon Arm, B.C. May 17-21.
“My coach (at the BC Cup) was the UBC assistant coach and I learned a lot from her,” said Shawara.
“We had four games, dry land, and practices. I got three points in the four games.”
Unfortunately, Shawara was sick during the Provincial Camp.
“I tried to participate as much as I could,” she said. “Even though I was sick this was a great experience for me.”
Back in April, Shawara was also asked to play on a Junior Women’s Hockey League (JWHL) team for the next hockey season.
“I have decided to play for the Pacific Steelers JWHL team,” said Shawara.
“I am very excited and nervous for this upcoming season. This team is based out of Richmond and I feel that this can help me improve on my hockey skills.”
Shawara is also on a spring team, the Pacific Steelers. The team has the same name as Shawara’s JWHL team because it is with the same coach, Jeff Eaton.
“The Pacific Steelers has a team from the Atom age group up to the Midget age group that takes place in the spring,” explained Shawara.
“It is elite female AAA spring hockey. That is what I played on for the last two springs. The Pacific Steelers also have a JWHL team that takes place during the regular season. This will be the first time I play with this team.”
Shawara attended a tournament with her Pacific Steelers spring team in Toronto, Ont., June 14 to 17 “The Toronto tournament was my last weekend with them,” she said. “Toronto was great. I feel so fortunate to be able to go to these tournaments. My family is very supportive. We placed second in the under 18 division. The team that got fi rst lost to us earlier in the tournament 6 to 0, so loosing to them in the final was hard. I scored two goals that tournament and had a couple of assists.”
This past season, Shawara was also selected for the BC Hockey Female AAA Major Midget All-Star Team. The All-Star game was held at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C. in mid-December. Shawara, who’s played hockey for 10 years, played for the Prince George Cougars Major AAA Midgets Female team for five years and with the McBride Grizzlies team for 10 years, however, she won’t be able to play for either team this year as she is moving to Coquitlam, B.C. and will be playing in the JWHL league. Shawara will also be attending a Secondary school in Coquitlam, B.C. this fall.
While Shawara’s spring hockey is over now, a perfect balance of rest and training is critical. “I am trying to rest up for when my next team starts, which is in August,” she said. “I have been having a few little health issues that have been slowing me up. Nothing major but you wouldn’t believe how something like bronchitis or shin splints slows a person up. It is a little frustrating, but I know that I’m fortunate to be able to keep going. I have friends that have more serious things happening and they are not able to play, so I do count my blessings for sure. I am going to start training again soon. I will be running up the mountain behind our house this summer and work on some quick feet exercises. Having quick feet is something that I will always have to work on. There are many things that I have to work on! I have plans to be on the ice again mid-August. Getting some ice time in is important because we are going to Vermont [USA] August 29 with the Pacifi c Steelers JWHL League. I am nervous and excited to play on this new team. I am a little sad to be moving away from McBride but I will be coming back a lot to visit and it will always be home.”
Shawara’s goals are to keep improving on her hockey skills and to eventually play for a University team while getting an education at the same time.